Friday, March 27, 2015

More Subdued Birding

Although the morning was bright and sunny the cold north westerly’s continue to hold back migration. 

When I arrived at Fluke Hall there were Meadow Pipits lifting off from the nearest field and a count of 30+, the birds heading due north across the shore and then towards Heysham. There was a single Wheatear along the sea wall, and those two species proved to be the only genuine migrants I saw in three hours of searching the area. 

At least the sun gave resident birds plenty to sing about with even the normally shy and retiring Tree Sparrows making lots of noise in and around several nest boxes. It is actually hard to detect the song of Tree Sparrow, a short twitter mixed with the occasional chirrup. A Tree Sparrow’s calling repertoire consists of varied chirps and cheeps generally similar to the House Sparrow but shorter and higher pitched. All in all, and due to its generally wary behaviour, the humble Tree Sparrow is a bird that is easily overlooked. 

Tree Sparrows are birds of lowland farmland but will also inhabit large gardens, especially where nest boxes are provided. They prefer mature trees in open country, on the edge of woods or in hedges. Tree Sparrows usually nest in holes (including nest boxes) but may build a nest in thick, large hawthorn hedges if no holes are available. 

Tree Sparrow

A walk through the woodland and along hedgerows revealed 4 Twite, 4 Greenfinch in song, 3 Song Thrush, 5 Linnet, Stock Doves in display mode, 2 Greylags on the pond and 25+ Woodpigeon. The pair of resident Kestrels can generally be seen. Today the male was atop a roadside telegraph post while the female hunted the nearby fields. 

Woodpigeon

The “wet fields” aren’t especially wet at the moment after a somewhat dry spell, but with a little effort I found a gang of 9 Snipe, 4 Teal, 2 Little Egret, 12 Redshank, 4 pairs of Lapwing, 2 pairs of Oystercatcher and 18+ Shelduck. The Shelduck are mostly paired up and on the lookout for somewhere to nest. 

An old name for the Shelduck is “burrow duck” a title earned from the birds’ habit of making its nest in a burrow of a rabbit or in a hole hollowed out by itself. In the Orkneys the Shelduck was once known as the “Sly Goose” from their instinctive cunning and ability to divert people from robbing their nests of young. Like many a wader species an adult Shelduck will fly along the ground as if wounded until the young can reach a place of safety whereupon the adult bird will return to the young to collect them together. 

The "sheld" part of the Shelduck's name refers to the pied and brightly coloured variegated parts of the species plumage.

Shelduck

The forecast is pretty dire for several days ahead so I’m hoping the experts are wrong and I can get out birding or ringing. If so, read all about it here on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to I'd-rather-b-birdin.blogspot and Eileen's Saturday Blog .

28 comments:

Jo said...

Your Tree Sparrow looks a lot like our Cape Sparrow. We've just experienced our resident Cape Sparrow pair's nest being parasitized by a Diderick's Cuckoo.

David Gascoigne said...

Even though yiur birding was subdued (unlike you I am sure) it seems that you had Twite a time of it.

eileeninmd said...

I hope the weather is ok for you, it is still cold and rainy here. Love the pretty shelduck. Happy weekend!

Linda said...

Cute tree sparrow, and the Shelduck...wow, I love the brilliant colours!

TexWisGirl said...

i like those shelducks. quite plucky looking. :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Love the Tree Sparrow peeping out and the Shelduck. Have a lovely weekend.

Chris Rohrer said...

Another great set of birds here. Interesting about the Tree Sparrows. So are the American Tree Sparrows a different species from the Tree Sparrow? I'm going to have to check that out. I just saw my first ones last week. Very interesting sparrows! Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend.

Wally Jones said...

Meadow Pipits and a Wheatear - more migrants that you might have seen from your living room!

Sorry to hear the weatherman is not cooperating lately. Hopefully, the winds will shift soon and bring migrating multitudes winging your way.

In the meantime, sounds as if your locals are busy embracing the breeding season. Interesting discussion about how easy it is to overlook the Tree Sparrow. The only Shelduck we see are those purchased by local communities to inhabit city parks and beg for bread crumbs. Still, a very handsome duck.

It's raining outside the window at the moment but our own weatherperson predicts cool and sunny for the morning. We're off to a swamp next door to a beach!
(Gotta love Florida!)

Enjoy your weekend, Phil!

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up! Have a happy weekend!

Adam Jones said...

I love the Tree Sparrow shot. Always enjoy seeing them on my patch, but the numbers are dwindling.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely photos! I hope the weather improves soon - both there and here as well.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The shelduck is gorgeous! And sweet to see the baby sparrow . And of course it would be have been a pretty good day of birding for me. But I do hope your weather improves.

Stewart M said...

That tree-sparrow is a cracking shot!

Hope the forecast is wrong!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Anni said...

I have a big smile from viewing the sparrow in the 'house' looking out at us. Cute!!

And the pigeon...such soft, delicate, colors. It's mighty pretty in the sunlight. And the duck...so dapper!!!

I too hope you'll get some fine weather for birding/ringing, and the forecast is wrong. Around here in Texas, the last couple of days, it's been perfect. But, alas, drs. appointments and such kept us from being out but only ONE day. Maybe again today we can go briding.

Thank you kindly for sharing this link at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

sandyland said...

shelduck fascinating- I thought wood pigeon was a dove??

Mary Cromer said...

Phil, can you let me know if my comment I just sent got posted...I got a warning and then one of those orange whoops things and then my comment was gone.

Madge Bloom said...

That little house sparrow looking out of the bird house is darling... just a common little bird, but lovely nonetheless. Thank you for coming by sharing your creative photography on the Weekly Top Shot, #171!

Madge Bloom said...

Hmmm, I left a comment, but it didn't post. I do love that little house sparrow looking out the doorway of his house... Thank you Phil, for coming by sharing your creative photography on the Weekly Top Shot, #171!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Super captures...thanks for sharing your knowledge♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/shadows/

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Muy bonito el gorrión en su caja nido. Por aquí ya hemos empezado a poner cajas nido para paseriformes y pequeñas rapaces. Saludos cordiales desde España.

Joyful said...

I love your capture of the tree sparrow. I could just hear all the birds chattering and singing as I read your post.

Fun60 said...

What a great shot of the tree sparrow.

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful bird and terrific captures!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a great week!

carol l mckenna said...

Great shots of nature's gems as always ~ love the Sparrow in the bird house!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Jen Masssey napierdailyphoto.blogspot.co.nz said...

enjoyed this :)

Laura said...

love the little tree sparrow, what a great find!

Powell River Books said...

That's an interesting nesting spot. - Margy

Russell Jenkins said...

Beautifully written and love the pictures, Phil. That Tree Sparrow looks like it likes minding its own business.

Related Posts with Thumbnails